Sunday, April 28, 2013

Scotland: Part 2

On our second day in Scotland, we first went on a Whisky Tour. It was actually pretty neat! We aren't really into whisky but Bryce really wanted to take the tour and I am glad we did. We got to see how it was made and even got to try a little taste. I was NOT a fan but Bryce liked it.

This is the worlds largest whisky collection. A man collected all of these bottles all by himself. The worth of the collection is unknown.

Then, we walked to the Holyrood Castle. This is the castle that the Queen of England stays in when she comes to Scotland. It was gorgeous and I am so glad we got to visit the castle.

Seriously, this castle is HUGE! 

In the afternoon, we went to World of Illusions. It was so neat and really fun for Ava. Okay, maybe it was more fun for Bryce and I but Ava had fun, too.

The next day, we rented a car and went to St. Andrew's golf course and Loch Ness. St. Andrew's is a really famous golf course and Loch Ness is a gorgeous lake surrounded by mountains but there is supposedly a monster that lives in the water. You can google it and see some of the pictures of the 'monster'.

My husband driving on the right side and I am sitting on the left in the passengers seat. SO SO weird!!! It was such a neat experience to be driving on the left side of the road.

St. Andrews was RIGHT on the ocean. I bet it would be gorgeous in the summer but while we were there, it was so cloudy and rainy.. :(

My husband was in HEAVEN!!! I don't think I have ever seen him as excited as he was on that day!

This girl loved riding forward in her carseat for the first time. FYI: The British and Europeans require infants to be forward facing from the time they are born and it is a 90 euro fine if the carseat is not forward.

 It was so hard to get good pictures because we were driving and it was also really cloudy and raining.

This is Loch Ness. Unfortunately, we didn't see the monster. ;)

These pictures just don't do this place justice. It was GORGEOUS...even with the yucky weather!

The next day, we flew home. I was SO ready to be home but we all enjoyed this trip SO much!! Going to London just made us want to live there even more. I am convinced we will live there some day. Shh..don't tell my family that! ;)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Scotland: Part1

On our fifth day of vacation, we packed our bags and got on a 4 hour train ride to Scotland. Ava did great for the first 3 hours but the last hour was a challenge. She was so ready to be off of that was also nap time.

Once we got to Scotland, we walked to our hotel which was only about a 10 minute walk. We dropped off our bags (since our room wasn't clean yet) and strolled the city for the afternoon. We hit up a bunch of souvenir shops and visited the Edinburgh Castle. It was HUGE! We decided to not go in because we had read several reviews that it wasn't worth it. We ate dinner at an Italian pizza place and then called it a night.

This was taken from the train!

This guy was cracking me up. He would jump towards people and growl to try to scare them as they would walk by!

 The sun finally decided to pop out for a few seconds...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

London 2013: Part 3

On our fourth day in London, we jumped on a train to Newbury to see the Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey castle)! Y'all, I can not express how excited I was! I have watched all 3 seasons of Downton Abbey and I am a little obsessed. So here it goes.. First, let me give a few details.

Since 1679, the castle has been home to the Carnarvon family. The castle is set on more than 1,000 acres and has at least 50 bedrooms. The man that designed the exterior architecture was the same man that designed the Westminster Palace (Parliament) exterior. The current Lord and Lady Carnarvon (Georgie and Fiona) live on the estate today but do not live in the Highclere Castle. All of the furniture and decor that is in Downton Abbey is the original decor of Highclere Caste, which I thought was neat! One thing that I did notice a difference in was that there were pictures everywhere displayed of the Carnarvon family. It was neat to see all the history of the people that used to rule the estate.

We got to tour the first two floors and to my surprise, there were several rooms that were not shown in Downton Abbey like the Gentleman's room and Woman's room. The Gentleman's room was used for drinking, smoking, and lounging. The Woman's room was a place for morning tea. We didn't get to tour the maids quarters and I am not even sure that the rooms they show on Downton Abbey are really apart of the Highclere castle. They may have filmed it in a different location. I am not certain, though.

Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any pictures inside but thanks to the show, you can know exactly what it looks like inside! :)

Ava was happy to be at the Downton Abbey castle ;)

A couple of scenes were filmed here.

I can't believe I am at the Downton Abbey castle!!! Unreal!

Recognize this bench? There are several scenes in Downton Abbey that are filmed here.

This is the entrance to the garden. It wasn't so pretty because none of the flowers were in bloom but I bet it is beautiful in the summer time.

Remember in the show where they have a similar device? This is the original row of bells in Highclere and could best be described as a (dare I say) cell phone? Each bell has a slightly different tone so the maids could tell which part of the house was ringing for them and this device would also show which part of the house was ringing.

We spent 3 hours at the Highclere castle and I could have stayed all day! It was so much fun just to walk around outside with the castle in the background. Once our cab arrived to pick us up, we went to the train stop to catch a train back to London. We ate dinner in London then headed to our hotel to get some sleep because the next morning, we were heading to Scotland!